Are you interested in how the super rich in Vietnam live? Truong Mỹ Lan, the 65-67-year-old (the year of birth of the mysterious businesswoman is not even clear), Chinese-born but Vietnamese billionaire was primarily known for his real estate investments. However, as the article (read in Vietnamese) showing the lady’s extensive business empire and fabulous wealth also explains, the interests of the woman who bought her daughter a property worth 35 million dollars (7 billion forints) at the time, are actually suspected to be behind a financial group created by the merger of three banks .
Yes, but as Reuters also writes, the real estate tycoon has now been arrested for financial fraud. This was announced by the Vietnamese police on Saturday, October 8, adding that the country has been fighting corruption for years and is intensifying the fight against financial abuse.
In Vietnam, there are two centers of business life, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) with 9 million people and the capital, Hanoi with 8 million people. Since the country has followed a kind of Chinese path, i.e. it has a centrally controlled, wildly capitalist, but still party-controlled economy, with rapid growth, the problems are similar. I think we can remember that corruption and the real estate bubble are also causing problems in China recently.
Trương Mỹ Lan’s company, Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group, chaired by the billionaire, allegedly issued illegal bonds to raise billions of dong (many tens of millions of dollars) from investors in 2018-2019. We do not know the exact value of the damage
“further investigation is underway to clarify fraud”
– announced the relevant ministry.
Reuters reminds us that Vietnam has recently launched a series of high-profile corporate investigations, followed by arrests, leading stockbrokers, real estate developers, and even corrupt officials working at the regulatory authority.
This is what happened in this case as well, in addition to the president, three other people (the deputy chief financial officer, an assistant and a broker) were also arrested, who are accused of being involved in Lan’s transactions.
Irregularities are also alleged to have occurred when the company purchased state-owned land.
Rumors of Lan’s impending arrest began circulating on social media earlier this week, and those rumors included the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) because of Lan’s widely suspected but unpublicized connection to the bank. At the end of 2011, three banks in Vietnam, SCB, De Nhat and Vietnam Tin Nghia, merged, and behind all of them the woman who has just been arrested emerged.
On Saturday, the Vietnamese central bank quickly reassured SCB’s depositors that there was no reason to panic and that it was monitoring the situation there.
An adventurous life
The Chinese-Vietnamese businesswoman and billionaire is not involved in scandals for the first time. The Truong My Lan family is one of the richest families in Vietnam. Lan’s husband, Eric Chu Nap Kee, is also a well-known businessman, and he prefers to do business in the Hong Kong real estate market. The extended family includes well-known businessmen, soldiers, and even singers, and the 67-year-old woman’s grandchildren are now adults.
In the last four decades, Lan first had an ever-expanding chain of restaurants and hotels, but the company later expanded more and more in the real estate market, building huge malls, residential parks, and marinas.
At VTP Group Holdings, Ms. Lan owns 80 percent of the shares, the value of which before her arrest was equivalent to 5,000 billion dong (roughly HUF 100 billion), but since she had four or five companies of a similar size in her empire, we are not exaggerating when we say , that he was also a billionaire in dollars.
There was some history
Lan almost broke up with Vietnam once. In early 2014, he was accused of trying to bribe a senior lieutenant with $1 million to get a port. Therefore, in mid-2014, Truong My Lan and 9 other family members simultaneously renounced their Vietnamese citizenship, but this renunciation was later revoked. He got away with this case then, as he did
the fact that the woman’s name appeared prominently in the Panama Papers has not had any real consequences so far.
When an international group of investigative journalists published data on transactions in the British Virgin Islands, the businesses of Chu Nap Kee Eric and Truong My Lan were also revealed.
However, now his situation seems to be more serious, together with the arrest, the Supreme People’s Prosecutor’s Office also searched the residence and workplace of the president of Van Thinh Phat Group, and the authorities also locked up his assets. The results of the initial investigation determined that the defendant committed fraud when he issued bonds in violation of the law between 2018 and 2019.
No matter how her case ends, Ms. Lan’s work will already be visible in Ho Chi Minh, as her projects were the luxury department store Union Square, the Sherwood Residence, the Sterling Residence, or the Lambert Residence luxury districts, as well as the An Dong Commercial Hotel.